Australian State of Victoria! New Dept and laws to protect children

by zeb 18 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • zeb
    Alexandra James posted: "The state of Victoria, in Australia, is moving forward with a new law that is meant to protect victims of child sex abuse, including when such incidents happen within a religious setting. According to the "Reportable Conduct Scheme" that has just been ena"
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    New post on JWVICTIMS.ORG

    Breaking News: Australia’s First New Change in Laws to Protect Victims of Child Sex Abuse

    by Alexandra James

    The state of Victoria, in Australia, is moving forward with a new law that is meant to protect victims of child sex abuse, including when such incidents happen within a religious setting. According to the "Reportable Conduct Scheme" that has just been enacted, when the police and other organisations learn of allegations or cases of child sexual abuse, they must report this to the Commission for Children and Young People, whose office will monitor all involved for compliance with the state's Child Safe Standards.

    Please note that this Commission for Children and Young People is NOT the Australian Royal Commission (ARC); these would be two completely separate entities. The ARC Inquiry Into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse , of which Jehovah's Witnesses were a part (see this page for more details), was a short-term round of questioning held to determine what recommendations should be made regarding enacting or improving laws, in order to better protect children and sex abuse victims.

    According to their website, the main objectives of this Commission for Children and Young People, and their new Reportable Conduct Scheme, is to:

    • require some organisations to respond to allegations of child abuse (and other child-related misconduct) made against their workers and volunteers, and to notify us of any allegations
    • enable us to independently oversee those responses
    • facilitate information sharing between organisations, their regulators, Victoria Police, the Department of Justice and Regulation’s Working With Children Check Unit and us

    As of right now, this law is only being enacted in the state of Victoria, not throughout all of Australia. It would be applicable to anyone in an organization that falls under government oversight and who has received a credible allegation of child sex abuse; even police would be required to report to this agency, to ensure a child's criminal complaint is not mishandled.

    Note, the requirement of reporting to this agency does not mean elders would be obligated to report to the police, only to this commission. However, as said, this agency's job would be to ensure that an allegation of sexual abuse and the child's rights are protected and handled properly, that a record is made of such an allegation outside the setting where it was reported, and that it is handled according to Child Safe Standards. In other words, Jehovah's Witness elders would no longer be able to drop the matter and claim that they are "respecting the rights of the victim" by abandoning them to handle any further reporting on their own. Whether or not the victim chooses to report the matter to the police, this Commission for Children and Young People would still have a record that such an allegation was made, and would be available to assist the victim in the reporting process and ensure that the case is handled according to their Child Safe Standards.

    For Jehovah's Witnesses, this mandatory reporting would no doubt also hinder their consistent practice of destroying notes and records that pertain to abuse allegations. They may also come under more intense scrutiny for how they handle such allegations within the religion itself, and what steps they take to protect children.

    It has been suggested by exJW activists in Australia that this type of law may become nationwide sometime in the future, as a result of the work of the ARC. However, even as it stands, this is a tremendous victory for the victims of sex abuse in this religion, and for activists as well, and a tremendous blow to Jehovah's Witnesses, who want to hide how many cases of pedophilia and child sex abuse actually occur in their religion.

    I'm also told that much of this law is to the credit of the tireless work of Steven Unthank, who has apparently campaigned for many years to get such a legal requirement and procedure in place. If you've never heard of Steven Unthank, keep that in mind; real activism isn't always about getting your name in the papers and face in front of the cameras, but fighting for real changes that affect and benefit the victims of this religion.

    I'll keep updating this site as more information is available, so please use the subscribe button on the right to stay informed. Thank you!

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    Alexandra James | June 30, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Categories: Australian Royal Commission Inquiry 2015, Children, Court Cases, Current Events, Pedophilia | URL:
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  • jwleaks

    On 1 January 2017 new laws also came into force in the state of Victoria, Australia, that require organizations to adopt and comply with new Child Safe Standards. This applies to government organizations and government funded organizations. The mandatory reporting aspect comes into force on 1 July 2017 (today) to align with the above mentioned new laws.,-guidelines-and-legislation/child-safe-standards-resources

    There was alot of campaigning and government inquiries and reports to get these changes implimented. Every step of the way special attention was made to ensure religious organizations, including the JWs and Watchtower, did not escape legislative control. The failures of the JWs and the governing body were constantly presented to legislators, including their failure to comply with mandatory working with children laws for a full three years (July 2008 - June 2011) until they were all charged with a total of 35 criminal offences in five separate cases and then prosecuted in the Magistrates' Court of Victoria between July 2011 and February 2012. Many people worked tirelessly to make sure the JWs and Watchtower had no room to escape these new laws and compliance. During this entire period of time Watchtower continually restructured its organizational and business model in Australia but to no avail.

    On 1 January 2018 the new laws commence application within religious and non-government organizations. There is no escape for any organization, especially the JWs and Watchtower.

  • zeb

    well done everyone.

  • smiddy

    That is bloody good news for all concerned and especially to Steven Unthank for his tireless work in making the JW`s /WT religion accountable for their negligence and failure to protect the children of sexual abuse in their congregations and by extension the wider community.

    Well done.

  • zeb

    Copy of the above has been sent to the Inquiry being held in UK.

  • jw news 2017
    jw news 2017

    Thank you

    I've put this on a YouTube video... Helping to spread the word...

  • smiddy

    I`m a little surprised this news hasnt generated more positive comment ?

    Isnt this news a big step in the right direction ? worthy of a celebration?

  • jw news 2017
    jw news 2017

    By the way, there are 2 current inquiry's in the UK that are investigating Jehovah's Witnesses...

    IICSA ~ Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse


    Charity Commission for England and Wales

    No doubt, this has already been passed on to both of them...

    Thank you again... I only saw this because I came here... I need to go on

    more often ;-)

  • jw news 2017
    jw news 2017

    Yes smiddy, absolutely!

    This is real progress...wonderful news :-)!

    I'm hopeful and confident that other countries will do likewise...

  • zeb

    smiddy. yes I am oft disappointed at the mere modicum of interest shown in this matter.

    The news out of Italy is stupendous that they want to see ......reforms...

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